Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Is the World Ready for the Secret of NOVA?

“Is the world ready for the secret of Nova?”

\ Wolfman/ Buscema / Bob McLeod / Joe Rubinstein / Costanza/ Sharen

Robbie doesn’t know it, but he’s just accused his brother of murdering their father. Thing is, Rich Rider, a.k.a. Nova, has yet to reveal his secret i.d. Charles Rider seems all right enough for Nova to pursue the Inner Circle leader, so he tells Robbie call ahead to the hospital. One bashed door later, Nova stands before the throne of the Corruptor, looking like nothing so much as an indigo Andrew Jackson, complete with eye beams capable of repulsing the Human Rocket.

The Inner Circle acolytes gather with their special rifles, prepared to atomize the super hero. He follows the megalomaniacal villain into his “Computech” lab, one of many he suggests he has throughout the city. He points to a hologram intended to track his controlling influence (remember from #4? He can control people through chemicals secreted and spread skin to skin). He exclaims the change to more formal costume should reflect his new role: emperor. He wishes to use humankind to steal for his bidding and to turn them loose running without inhibitions, like a nationwide Burning Man festival colored with criminal intent. While Nova can dodge his physical attack, he seems helpless when Corruptor “illumens the room and is gone.” Nova cuts loose on the remaining Inner Circle soldiers.

Now he flies back to the Riders, and takes both of them to the hospital. (Robbie must leave his robot Sherlock to its own devices: “meet me at home” he says. Oh, what that ‘bot could’ve gotten into...) He blasts off again for “Shuffles” his card shark informer. Shuffles has no desire to cross the Corruptor, but he drops a hint when he suggests: “why not take in a flick? They’re showing “Zombies On Broadway” down the street from the theater featuring “Invader? I Hardly Knew Her.”

Nova takes the Zombies reference to mean Corruptor’s launching a mass-hypnosis mob. A Russian trawler, fishing for tuna, has a net Nova decides to borrow, freeing Charlie and other tuna. He may not be the master of grammar rules, but a net full of innocent controlled people he can handle; they are left with the police. He streaks by the sequestered, raving Corruptor, who plans revenge anew.

Mike Burley’s not digging life on the streets, but even life as a fugitive seems better than, say, the one lived by the dazed alley dweller he passes. Why does he bother with this drunk muttering something (I’m Comet...) to himself? Nonetheless, character carries the day, and Burley shoulders the man.

Nova zips over the rooftops, to the hospital. Now he decides to eliminate most of his serious problems of late by walking into the room, declaring Nova’s “interference hasn’t been a coincidence,” and pops open his shirt to reveal the tri-star uniform top. Burley, in the commisary, disguised in a trenchcoat, wishes his burden and motivations could be revealed, too. Meanwhile, the consequences of these two efforts remain masked by fate, but for now, the family is very grateful to Rich.
The mystery man, on the operating table, asks not to be x-rayed. The radiation makes him scream, glow...and---

NEXT ISSUE : Who was the Comet?

Of course, the "secret of Nova" could've been something way bigger than only the secret identity to the Earthling who's become the key to it all...there is something so slight about the comics of 1978: economy of size required more precise choices in reflecting artistic vision, but of course, they are inspirational as much for what they became not, so much as what they were.

Case in point: NOVA #21

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